Stop & Shop, a major retail chain in the US Northeast, announced today that it will install microgrids in 40 of its grocery stores in Massachusetts and New York. The microgrids will use Bloom Energy fuel cells.
The urban indoor vertical farm industry is at an important juncture. Automation is taking root, long-term contracts with creditworthy retail and food service distributors are in the works and vertical farms are preparing to scale up. Also, the industry is about to get its first trade group, the American Association for Urban and Vertical Farming.
We can move faster installing microgrids, but you need to make some changes. That’s the overarching message from microgrid companies to California regulators as the state faces utility power shutoffs for years to come.
Though it is still in early days, and only hints of what’s to come are yet visible, the evolution to a more distributed system is inevitable. It can be done inefficiently and inequitably, or the state can make sure it’s done expeditiously and fairly, but it is going to happen one way or another.
The idea that rooftop solar and other distributed resources could avoid the need for new power lines isn’t theory. In its 2017-2018 transmission plan, California’s grid operator cancelled 20 new transmission projects and revised 21 more due to energy efficiency and residential solar power altering load forecasts, with a projected savings of $2.6 billion.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s preemptive power outages during times of high fire risk are prompting some West Marin officials to consider other ways to be more self-sufficient with its energy.
The state’s biggest investor-owned utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison Co., are expected to de-energize power lines more frequently this year to stop them from igniting fires when the weather is dry and windy. It’s one of the fastest and cheapest ways for utilities to keep wildfires from sparking.
Scale Microgrid Solutions is on a mission to make sophisticated microgrids as easy to deploy and finance as rooftop solar, said Timothy Hade, microgrid specialist for the company.
Under the terms of the agreement, Scale Microgrid Solutions will build, own and operate a proprietary hybrid microgrid system that leverages Schneider Electric EcoStruxure technology for Bowery’s newly commissioned facility in New Jersey, the most technologically sophisticated commercial farm in the world.
The new hybrid microgrid system will be built for the farm’s newly commissioned facility in New Jersey, which will be designed to support indoor vertical farming. That microgrid will involve a rooftop solar array and natural gas generator, coupled with a lithium-ion battery storage system. A cloud-connected system behind the meter will connect the microgrid.